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Jim Fitzpatrick: The question my hon. Friend has asked relates to operational matters for which Post Office Ltd. (POL) is directly responsible. The company has provided the following figures. Figures prior to 2002 are not available.
|Number of open post office branches|
Jim Fitzpatrick: Her Majesty's Government will make final decisions on the future of the post office network following national public consultations. Post Office Ltd. will then develop detailed area proposals on which there will be local consultations. Precise arrangements for these will be determined in due course.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions has he had with independent postal carriers on the provision of a wider range of postal services through sub-post offices. 
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much funding his Department gave to the (a) Technology Strategy Board, (b) Simpler Trade Procedures Board and (c) Industrial Development Advisory Board in each of the last five years; and how much has been provided to each body in 2006-07. 
Margaret Hodge: [holding answer 4 December 2006]: The Technology Strategy Board and the Industrial Development Advisory Board are advisory bodies which do not receive any specific funding and the costs of administering the bodies is absorbed in the general administrative budgets.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding was made available to each regional development agency from the single pot contributed to by the Department for Education and Skills, Department for Culture Media and Sport, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Communities and Local Government in each year from 2001-02 to 2005-06, and what funding has been allocated to each regional development agency for 2006-07 and 2007-08. 
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much funding has been allocated to domestic renewable energy installations in the last full year of the (a) Clearskies and (b) Solar PV Major Demonstration Programmes. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that awards of grant aid for renewable installations in the public sector to be made under his Departments Low Carbon Building Programme Phase 2 will be widely available to companies of all sizes; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: Grants under Phase 2 of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme are only available for installations in the public sector or the charitable/voluntary sector. In order to receive the grant, the public sector body (or charity/voluntary organisation) has to purchase the installation through one of 7 suppliers on the Framework associated with Phase 2. The companies on the Framework vary in size from major utilities to much smaller scale dedicated micro-generation companies.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1909W, on Unions 21, what the name was of the project for which payment was made to Unions 21 under the Strategic Partnership Fund; and what the purpose was of the payment. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The name of the project was Moving Partnership On. The payment was for activities undertaken on behalf of the project. This included the running of five regional workshops, which were attended by over 200 people from over 120 organisations.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1909W, on Unions 21, what the name was of the conference in respect of which payment was made to Unions 21 for its attendance; and what was the purpose of the payment. 
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans his Department has put in place to ensure full compliance with EU Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electric and electronic equipment, with regard to disposing of the equipment which will become redundant following digital switchover. 
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006, which implement EU Directive 2002/96/EC, provide for enforcement action
to be taken against producers, distributors and scheme operators for a wide range of offences. They can be liable to a fine of up to £5,000 per offence on summary conviction in the magistrates court or an unlimited fine imposed by the Crown court. Company directors and managers of companies can also be prosecuted, in addition to the company itself, if they consent to, or participate in, the offence, or if their neglect led to the commission of an offence by the company.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the cost of disposing of the electrical and electronic equipment that will become redundant following digital switchover. 
Malcolm Wicks: Information on disposal costs for electrical and electronic equipment is contained in the final regulatory impact assessment which accompanied the WEEE regulations, which were laid before the House on 12 December 2006. The results of DTI/DEFRA sponsored research into the levels of waste disposal due to switchover will be published in early 2007.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the effect of the outcome of the recent meeting of Trade Ministers of India and Mauritius on prospects for (a) a comprehensive economic co-operation partnership agreement, (b) the World Trade Organisation negotiations and (c) (i) Indian and (ii) Mauritian trade with the (A) UK and (B) EU. 
Mr. McCartney: The meeting between the Indian and Mauritian Trade Ministers took place on the 5 January and we have yet to make an assessment of the impact of a comprehensive economic and co-operation partnership. However, the bilateral trade between Mauritius and India is largely agricultural and textiles-based and therefore it is unlikely to impact upon the competitiveness of either the EU or the UK.
On the WTO negotiations, an ambitious, pro-development outcome to the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) remains UKs top trade priority and we are encouraged that many WTO members, including India and Mauritius, are discussing ways to deliver real progress on the Doha trade round.
The UK Government will continue to work with the European Commission, other EU member states and other WTO members to ensure the momentum of the negotiations is maintained and the DDA concluded as soon as possible. We will also continue to make the case for the DDA, the contribution it can make to stimulating economic growth and alleviating poverty, and highlighting the risks of failure.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the possible effect of Russian membership of the World Trade Organisation on Russian trade with the (a) EU and (b) UK. 
Mr. McCartney: The Government consider that Russian WTO accession will act as a catalyst for domestic reform in Russia. These reforms are vital, not least for providing a secure environment in which British companies can do business in Russia. The Government fully support Russias accession to the WTO but under the right terms and conditions that ensure that Russia will fully meet her commitments as a WTO member.
The European Commission has competence for negotiating the terms and conditions for Russias accession to the WTO. The EU agreed to the terms of Russias market access commitments in May 2004. The Government have identified key areas where the UK has an interest in doing business with Russia and has made appropriate representations to the European Commission to ensure that the UKs concerns are taken into account during accession negotiations.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his Departments policy is on World Trade Organisation requests that East African Community member states commit themselves to a single trading Customs Union by 2008; and what assessment he has made of the possible impact this will have on UK trade with (a) Kenya, (b) Uganda, (c) Rwanda, (d) Burundi and (e) Tanzania. 
Mr. McCartney: I am unaware of any requests within the WTO that the East African Community member states commit themselves to a single trading Customs Union by 2008. Clearly this would be a decision for the countries involved.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the effect of Vietnams accession to the World Trade Organisation on (a) EU-Vietnamese and (b) UK-Vietnamese trade. 
Vietnams accession to the WTO has clear political and economic benefits for the UK. The last Asian tiger, Vietnam has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia and a market of over 80 million people. The UK is already a major economic partner. We are among the largest EU investors, especially in financial services and infrastructure projects. WTO membership will secure market access for UK trade and investment, and help create a stable, more transparent and rule-of-law based business environment for further growth.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Aegis Security Services has been invited by her Department to tender for Government security service contracts in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Iraq and (c) elsewhere. 
Dr. Howells: In 2006, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued open advertisements seeking expressions of interest in contracts to provide static and mobile security services in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Aegis Defence Services Ltd. was one of a number of companies that expressed an interest in these contracts and their expressions met the required criteria for them to be invited to tender. Their tenders were not however successful.
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